Don’t Make SEO the Reason for Your Content Marketing Strategy

Historically, many companies began their content material advertising and marketing packages as a result of they believed it will assist them rank increased for natural search outcomes. When their goal audiences would search for potential options to their wants and needs, they’d discover the model’s huge array of content material and consider that model is the one that gives the most worth.

Unfortunately, what many companies found was {that a} basis constructed on being “found” in search meant they needed to give attention to content material that chased visitors. That created an inherent strain to create content material designed to rank reasonably than content material meant to steer, entertain, or inform.

Successfully organizing content material to optimize natural search has change into harder over the final decade. The high quality of competitors, the sheer amount of content material, and the development of paid search promoting have made digital actual property on the first web page of Google dearer and more difficult to take care of. And showing on something however the first web page isn’t just second place; it’s tantamount to failure. As my good buddy and SEO knowledgeable, Arnie Kuenn used to jokingly say – “the best place to hide a dead body is the second page of Google results.”

However, the traditional SEO-first mentality nonetheless exists in constructing a case for a content material advertising and marketing platform. In two latest conversations, purchasers expressed frustration about the place they have been in launching their new content material advertising and marketing program.

Each had requested their digital company to assist them establish the finest method to carry their content material advertising and marketing program to life. In every case, the consultants got here again with a 30-slide deck making the enterprise case for content material advertising and marketing by saying:

  • Your viewers searches Google X instances.
  • Here are the hottest search phrases.
  • Here’s what they’re discovering.
  • Here are the phrases they search that you simply care most about.
  • Here is the hole (in different phrases – what they aren’t discovering).
  • Conclusion A: The variety of searches you care about is proscribed.
  • Conclusion B: The variety of solutions for the phrases you care about and your viewers isn’t discovering is low (it’s going to be onerous to compete).
  • Recommendation: Focus short-term on creating content material about the phrases you care about however for which your viewers isn’t discovering solutions. Focus long-term on competing for the extremely sought key phrases. Put merely: Game on – let’s begin creating loads of content material.
  • Last slide: We will help you with creating that high-quality content material that can compete for that treasured actual property on the entrance web page of Google search outcomes.

Now, if it appears like I’m denigrating the wonderful work that good SEO corporations do, let me be clear that I’m not. I completely perceive good corporations do wonderful work on this area that goes properly past my pay grade.

But that slide deck illustrates an all-too-common argument for launching a contemporary content material advertising and marketing program. It presents two issues. First, SEO has arguably by no means been a great basis for a content material advertising and marketing platform. Second, and extra importantly, is that internet search itself modifications in a means that basically modifications the content material advertising and marketing equation.

#SEO has arguably never been a good foundation for a #ContentMarketing platform, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Let’s have a look at every.


Lesson 1: Google isn’t right here for your model

Google has by no means been fascinated by serving to you construct an viewers for your model’s platform. Quite the opposite, it all the time has been fascinated by you serving to them construct an viewers for theirs. They designed internet search as a useful instrument to create simply sufficient commoditization in outcomes that promoting that includes precisely what the searcher seeks is extra engaging.

In at present’s world of internet search, utilizing Google outcomes to kind the basis of your content material advertising and marketing technique is like watching the freeway from an overpass to find out what sort of automotive you should purchase. Sure, you’ll be able to depend the visitors, however you haven’t any concept about the worth of any one in all the vehicles.

You can’t know the social or emotional context of your viewers’s wants or needs by seeing in the event that they discover what they’re wanting for on Google. All you’ll be able to inform by search velocity and key phrase competitors is whether or not a subject is common and/or well-covered.

For instance, a excessive search quantity time period might point out an enormous search viewers. But it additionally might point out many in the viewers discover it tough to filter something that differentiates (and thus won’t rank properly). Therefore, common search phrases would possibly point out an viewers desperately looking for good high quality content material on a subject (so that they search for it regularly). In these instances, you’d mistake recognition for frustration.

On the different hand, a low search quantity might point out a small viewers, making it not value the time making an attempt to rank for that key phrase. Or maybe the low quantity signifies tomorrow’s new scorching subject that few have thought to attempt to discover it.

For instance, if we used search quantity in 2009 to resolve whether or not to launch a platform to evangelize the subject of “content marketing,” we in all probability would have determined in opposition to it. Look what we’d have missed. (In 2009, the time period “content marketing” was 18. By 2020, it had grown to 100.) Spoiler alert: We didn’t have a look at the SEO of the time period.

You ought to know extra about your viewers than Google does. When formulating a brand new content material advertising and marketing platform, you need to notice that Google search has been (and is) useful for understanding the zeitgeist of common matters and phrases. But it hasn’t been as useful in understanding what your audiences might be fascinated by tomorrow.

You should know more about your audience than @Google does, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

Too many SEO plans for content material advertising and marketing platforms really feel like they’re all the time chasing their tail. Teams spent 12 months chasing visitors on key phrases common a yr in the past. By the time they see progress, it’s too late. Great, you’re on the first web page of Google, however it’s for a time period nobody cares about anymore.

But what’s altering now could be much more essential to content material advertising and marketing. The transition of internet search itself is extremely essential – and your enterprise case should replicate this.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Think Outside the Search Box for SEO Keyword Opportunities

Lesson 2: Google nonetheless isn’t right here for you

Content discovery is altering the means audiences work together with digital content material. And Google nonetheless isn’t fascinated by that taking place on any channel apart from Google.

New research, as detailed in Search Engine Journal (SEJ), reveals that 30% of search customers are “forced to redo their search queries in order to find what they’re looking for.”

30% of search users must redo their queries to find what they’re looking for according to @sejournal research via @Robert_Rose @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Audiences change into increasingly more pissed off with the outcomes Google offers. Many are merely flawed or unhelpful. The SEJ article references a consumer who searched for “calories in a bottle of wine.” The wealthy content material returned on the search web page confirmed 123 energy (the quantity in a single glass of wine). As the consumer exclaimed: “I swear Google gets dumber by the day.”

But apparently, this isn’t as a result of Google is getting dumber; it’s as a result of Google is getting smarter. Of course, that “wrong” result’s an early indicator that it might get smarter.

Consumption of digital content material, and its sheer amount, are attending to a spot the place broad informational searches are much less environment friendly and helpful. Instead, many search platforms, social media, and different large content material platforms are leaning into what’s referred to as content material discovery.

Content discovery is likely to be finest described as “content recommendations.” The found or really helpful content material is delivered with out an express ask. In the wine instance, Google assumes what the searcher meant to ask and offers the reply. Google is aware of much more individuals care about the variety of energy in a glass of wine than individuals who need to know what number of energy are in a bottle. Thus, Google served up that content material earlier than the searcher even knew that’s what they wished.

If you’re wanting for the finest instance of content material discovery, look no additional than the astronomic rise of TikTookay. The TikTookay expertise delivers increasingly more related content material as the viewer makes use of it increasingly more. To various levels, “recommended” articles at the backside of blogs observe the content material discovery concept.

Content entrepreneurs ought to see this discovery development rising. Content solutions primarily based on a buyer’s intent, demographics, and different first-party information are rising in thought management useful resource facilities, web sites, and e-commerce platforms.

From an online search perspective, the manifestation of content material discovery is that the content material seems on the outcomes web page. Searchers don’t even have to click on to get the fundamentals of that enhanced content material. While at present that content material could also be flawed. Tomorrow, it is going to be higher. And subsequent week, it might be higher than yours.

Remember, Google continues to be not making an attempt that can assist you – the content material creator.


Content advertising and marketing begins along with your viewers

If you look to launch a brand new content material advertising and marketing platform, have a look at one thing apart from search optimization as the core profit. Those days are gone in the event that they ever actually existed. Yes, find out about SEO and the way the evolution of search into content material discovery will have an effect on how your content material is distributed.

Again, I’m NOT suggesting you cease using the finest practices of SEO, particularly as they evolve in the content material discovery route.

What I’m suggesting is that you’ll not discover the foundational story that differentiates your model by SEO and the advantages of natural search. You’ll discover that story in the hearts and minds of the audiences you need to attain – and by matching their desired worth to the worth you’ll be able to ship.

Then, and solely then, do you have to have a look at the way you would possibly write the content material, place it, and put it up for sale so it may be discovered. Or higher but – found.

It’s your story. Tell it properly.

Get Robert’s tackle content material advertising and marketing trade information in simply 5 minutes:

Watch earlier episodes or learn the evenly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox every week. 

Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute